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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Interview > Omar Henry

'With better luck we'll be there'

February 19, 2003

United Cricket Board of South Africa's chairman of selectors Omar Henry is disappointed at his team's inability to come good in the big matches. After defeats to the West Indies and New Zealand, he conceded that the team's bowling hasn't delivered as expected.

The former left-arm spinner, who was the first non-white player to represent South Africa, spoke to Ashish Magotra in Johannesburg.

South Africa's chances of getting into the Super Six hinge on the other teams' performances. Are you surprised by what has happened?

Yeah, very much so, and also a little disappointed; but that's cricket and that's the make-up of a World Cup event. We have to accept the worse and we have to deal from hereon with it.

There has been a lot of talk about Allan Donald's form not being too good. Some say he does not deserve a place in the South Africa side. How do you see that going? Do you see him playing more matches, or someone like Andrew Hall making it to the team?

Well, getting Andrew Hall into the starting 11 is a possibility, but we are going to address Allan Donald's issue and see what we can salvage. He is a world-class player and, as far as we are concerned, he is also a key player in our team. Bowling is a problem and we will have to see what we can do before the next game to make sure that the team is firing on all cylinders.

Jonty Rhodes's loss. How big do you think that is? You have Graeme Smith as a batsman but as a fielder Rhodes just seemed to lift the side...

He has played a role that was vital to the team. It was a big blow at that time but we must go forward and every individual must play to the best of his ability. We still believe that this team is good enough to take us into the Super Six and, hopefully, with better luck, we'll be there.

As the chairman of selectors, when you look at this team what do you think is its biggest weakness?

Before the tournament started we were worried about our batting, and our bowling was going great guns, but all of a sudden it turned so quickly on us. We feel that if we can put that right this team could be firing again. And, as I said before, with some favours from other teams we could find ourselves in the Super Six.

South Africa have always had the reputation of being one of the best fielding sides in the world, but they have been disappointing in the field as well. Your thoughts?

Well, they have been disappointing and we can only try and make things better. Maybe the pressure of being the home side is getting to them. But sitting 70 meters away from the centre it is very difficult to know what exactly is going wrong.

You had Gary Kirsten batting as low as number 7. Do you think there is place for another bowler to come in?

That is an option. The squad itself gives a lot of options. We thought we fielded the best team to beat New Zealand, unfortunately it didn't quite work out that way.

You have played all your cricket in South Africa. What do you think is going wrong with the Indians?

Well, I think India's problem is always going to be the bouncy wickets and Australia have exposed that. Their pace bowlers bounced India out. If India can sort that out, they are a very good side. At the end, they could be strong contenders for the trophy. It's all about getting accustomed to the bounce and playing as much as possible. Yes, there are a few loopholes for the Indian team but they are a good side.

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